The Wisdom of Wood. Fun and Easy Ways to Stay Joyful this Spring – by Amber Starr

Christel HughesAnimal Kingdom

Wood and Spring

New beginnings, expansion, moving from darkness to light.

Do you feel the change upon us?

We are well into the season of Spring in the North.  A time of transition.  “In like a lion” and “out like a lamb”.

For many of us on Earth it can feel a bit peculiar.  We may find ourselves trying to tame our lion one moment and caring for our lamb in another.  A juxtaposition of exciting possibility and anxious anticipation.

Vital energy within the plants, animals (that includes us), and the Earth itself, is rising, pushing, creating a pressure just on the verge of expression and release.

We see it in the trees especially.

Tender leaf shoots press upward from the cellulose frame that shaped them.  Creative potential, longing to emerge, is met with testing moments of cold, wind, and the opposing force of gravity.

Trees represent the element of Wood.

Deeply rooted.  Strong yet flexible.  Trees hold great wisdom in understanding these transformational cycles.  Within Taoist traditions and the Five Element System, Wood embodies the powerful qualities of Spring, revealing to us how our energy reflects that which is unfolding in the natural world around us.

Wood qualities within us can be seen as leadership, strength, generosity, idealism, and an ability to take control.  They can also be seen as impatience, irritability, melancholy, and criticism of self and others.  The Wood element reminds us to expand and move upward while remaining anchored to our roots.  To recognize that our creative potential requires a solid foundation to stretch upon.

As you look at the Chinese symbol for Wood you may see that its outstretched arms resemble a tree top, and the base is straight, locking into the solid ground of the Earth like a tap root.  Wood is associated with the color green, the emotion of anger, the eyes, and the act of looking.  Wood also corresponds to the direction of East, from where the morning sunrise brings the light, earlier and earlier each day, until the apex of the Summer Solstice.

It has a powerful influence.

Also associated with the liver and gall bladder, the Wood element’s influence is powerful.  And because of this powerful influence, cultural traditions mirror natural patterns and behaviors.  We “Spring clean” to shake off the dust of Winter, while also cleansing our mind and spirit.  In fact, a way to stay joyful during Spring is to cleanse your body and home, organize your thoughts and your things, do something that feels exciting, and move your body.

Animals feel it too.

The Five Element System also helps us better understand our animal companions.  In Nayana Morag’s book, Essential Oils for Animals, she describes the Wood type animal as an adventurer that is motivated by challenge and likes to get things done.  She notes that the Wood animal dreads being confined, likes having the freedom to make choices, and enjoys having goals to fulfill a sense of purpose.  Out of balance these animals tend to appear tense, rushed, bad tempered, jittery, and even depressed.

Do you have a Wood type animal in your life?  Observe your animal pal and notice if they too could benefit from cleansing, having things in order, doing something different and exciting, and getting outside to move.

As a matter of fact, you and your animal can bring each other joy by taking a jaunt together in the fresh Spring air.  And as Spring moves along we do tend to spend more time outside.  Warmer temperatures and longer days call us out to play and create in the world.  If we have nourished and rooted ourselves, like the successful young sapling, we will likely have the strength and potential for the long haul.  If we push too hard too fast however, without the care and attention required in times of transition, we may wilt from a lack of sustenance for mind, body, or spirit.

How strong are your roots?

A tree’s strength is held in its roots.  For us, our homes and habits are like roots.  They anchor us and either nourish our growth or cause us to shrivel from deficiency.  In the home, Feng Shui recognizes Wood as the area of new beginnings and family, as well as wealth and gratitude.  Wood knows that there is always the potential for new beginnings.  New habits…new day…new year.

It starts at home.

Creating a balanced, nourishing environment in the home is another great way to stay joyful during Spring.  Deb Regan, Academy for the Soul Master Teacher, has a unique way of communicating with spaces.  Deb suggests bringing a plant into your home to support the Wood element and your heart chakra, while bringing a living element from Earth inside.

Deb also suggests looking around your home for clues about where you are being unmoving or rigid in your life. Use the cycle of Spring to bring more flexibility in by moving a piece of furniture or changing the pictures on your walls. And open your windows to allow chi to flow into your space.

Thriving in transformation.

The element of Wood, and the dynamic season of Spring.  Revealing one of the many natural cycles of transformation on Earth.  With a thoughtful approach we can use this natural progression to build strength and momentum for seasons to come.  The key is cleansing and staying in joy.

What are some simple ways?

  • Stay hydrated. Water helps to cleanse us on so many levels.
  • Organize your thoughts. Do a brain dump and trim the “to do list” fat wherever you can.
  • Organize your things. Clean, consolidate, purge.  You’ll be glad you did.
  • Do something exciting. Big or small, as long as it feeds your soul.
  • Have fun with your body and harness the vital energy of Spring!
  • Nurture your home and space. Add a plant and enjoy some Feng Shui

And last but not least… hug a tree.  These magnificent beings have so much to share, and now is a good time to tune in to their Wood nature, to revel in their majesty, to take comfort in their presence.

Do you have a special tree friend in your life?  Go ahead and post a comment about them.  Or maybe you’d like to share an observation you’ve had about the season of Spring.  We look forward to seeing your remarks!

So, farewell for now, and may your joy expand like Wood, blossom like flowers, and reach for light like the tender shoots in Spring time.


P.S.: Would you like to know more about optimizing your space?  Deb regularly appears as host of the Academy for the Soul Radio Show. Get the details here at  Academy For The Soul Radio and enjoy the shows!

About the Author

Amber Starr

Amber Starr

Specializing in Creative Collaboration, Amber Starr, Academy for the Soul Certified Intuitive Strategist, uses innovation and purpose to develop conscious marketing and copywriting resources, as well as tools and methods to support others in attuning with the healing energies of the Earth. With a passion for the present and an enthusiastic eye towards the future, Amber farms and learns with family and friends, and eagerly envisions cooperate approaches to life together as Divine beings on Earth. For more information, or to contact Amber, you can reach her at